Botanikai Közlemények

  Journal of the Botanical Section of the Hungarian Biological Society

< 2016

Botanikai Közlemények 103(1): 135–152 (2016)
DOI: 10.17716/BotKozlem.2016.103.1.135


Taxonomic review and biotechnological applications of the cyanobacterial genus Anabaena

 1Institute of Plant Biology, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences,University of West Hungary, H-9200 Mosonmagyaróvár, Lucsony str. 15-17.;
University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Biological Sciences, Pietermaritzburg Campus, 3209 Scottsville, Private Bag X 01,
South African Republic  

Accepted: 25 February 2016

Keywords: Anabaena, biotechnology, blue-green algae, cyanobacterium, phylogenetics, taxonomy

Cyanobacteria have potential applications in diverse areas, especially in agriculture, as nutrient supplements in agriculture and industry. Their role as food supplements/nutraceuticals and in bioremediation and wastewater treatment is an emerging area of interest. In addition, they are known to produce a wide array of bioactive compounds with diverse biological activities. Cyanobacteria were originally classified mainly on the basis of morphological characteristics. The development of molecular techniques facilitated the use of morphological and molecular approaches at the same time. The current taxonomic studies are combined using the so called polyphasic approach, which takes molecular, morphological, physiological, cytological, toxicological and ecological data into account. To date, there are only a few well-known and accepted species among those which were discovered in the past, others need further revision. The taxonomy related book, Süβwasserflora von Mitteleuropa records approximately 84 Anabaena species. 116, previously Anabaena algae had been transferred to other genera. Now, 49 species belongs to Dolichospermum, 42 to Trichormus, 15 to Chysosporum and 10 to Sphaerospermopsis genera. Anabaena genus can be found on Internet based databases as well. Algabase ( contains 503 while NCBI ( presents 559 Anabaena taxa. The present review paper provides an overview of the species of Anabaena genus and its experimental and biotechnological application including the latest results of its taxonomic research.

Full text




Adams D.G. 2000: Cyanobacterial phylogeny and development: questions and challenges, In: Brun  Y. V. and Shimkets L. J. (eds.), Prokaryotic Development. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC. pp. 51-81.

Ahmed M., Stal L. J., Hasnain S. 2010: Association of non-heterocystous cyanobacteria with crop plants. Plant and Soil 336: 363–375.

Akkerman I., Janssen M., Rocha J., Wijffels R.H. 2002: Photobiological hydrogen production: photochemical efficiency and bioreactor design. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 27: 1195–1208.

Anagnostidis K., Komárek J. 1990: Modern approach to the classification system of cyanophytes. Teil 5, Stigonematales. Archiv für Hydrobiologie / Algological Studies 59: 1–73

Anand N. 1988: Culture studies and taxonomy of blue-green algae – certain identification problems. Archiv für Hydrobiologie Suppl. 80: 141-147.

Barker G. L. A, Hayes P. K., O’Mahony S. L., Vacharapiyasophon P., Walsby A. E. 1999: A molecular and phenotypic analysis of Nodularia (cyanobacteria) from the Baltic Sea. Journal of Phycology 35: 931-937.

Beltran E. C., Neilan B. A. 2000: Geographical segregation of the neurotoxin-producing cyanobacterium Anabaena circinalis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66: 4468-4474.

Bornet, Flahault 1886: Nostocacées Hétérocystées. (Anabaena). Annales des Sciences Naturelles, Botanique, Septième Série 7: 177-262

Casamatta D. A., Gomez S. R., Johansen J. R. 2006: Rexia erecta gen. et sp. nov. and Capsosira lowei sp. nov., two newly described cyanobacterial taxa from the Great Smoky Mountains. Hydrobiologia 561: 13-26.

Castenholz R. W. 1989: Subsection IV. Order Nostocales. In Staley J. T., Bryant M. P., Pfennig N., Holt J. G. (eds), Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Vol. 3. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, Hong Kong, London, Sydney, pp. 1780–93.

Castenholz R. W. 2001: Phylum BX. Cyanobacteria. In: Boone D. R., Castenholz R. W. (eds) Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, 2nd ed, vol. 1. Springer, New York, pp. 473–87.

Castenholz R. W., Norris T. B. 2005: Revisionary concepts of species in the cyanobacteria and their applications. Archiv für Hydrobiologie Suppl. 159: 53-69.

Cavalier-Smith T. 1998: A revised six-kingdom system of life. Biological Reviews 73: 203-266.

Cavalier-Smith T. 2002: The neomuran origin of archaebacteria, the negibacterial root of the universal tree and bacterial megaclassification. International Journal of Systematic and  Evolutionary Microbiology 52: 7-76.

Choi C. W., Yoo S. A., Oh I. H., Park S. H. 1998: Characterization of an extracellular flocculating substance produced by a planktonic cyanobacterium, Anabaena sp. Biotechnology Letters 20: 643–646.

Chorus I., Bartram J. 1999: Toxic cyanobacteria in water – A guide to their public health consequences, monitoring and management. E & FN Spon London. xv + 416 pp

Elenkin A. A. 1934: Ob osnovnych principach sistemy Cyanophyceae. Soviet Botany 1934: 51–83.

Elenkin A. A. 1938. Monographia algarum cyanophycearum aquidulcium et terrestrium in finibus URSS inventarum. (Sinezelenye vodorosli SSSR). Moskva-Leningrad: Izd. AN SSSR. Pars spec. 1-2, 1908 pp.

Fay P., Van Baalen C. (eds) 1987: The Cyanobacteria. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 534 pp.

Fjerdingstad E. 1966: Cell dimensions of some members of Aphanizomenon Morren (Cyanophyceae). Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Hydrobiologie 28: 133-147.

Fletchner V. R., Boyer S. L., Johansen J. R., DeNoble M. L. 2002: Spirirestis rafaelensis gen. et sp. nov. (Cyanophyceae), a new cyanobacterial genus from arid soils. Nova Hedwigia 74: 1-24.

Frankmölle W. P., Larsen L. K., Caplan F. R., Patterson G. M. L., Knübel G., Levine I. A., Moore R. E. 1992: Antifungal cyclic peptides from the terrestrial blue-green alga Anabaena laxa. I. Isolation and biological properties. Journal of Antibiotics 45: 1451-1457.

Geitler L. 1925: Synoptische Darstellung der Cyanophyceen in morphologischer und systematischer Hinsicht. Beihefte zum Botanischen Centralblatt 41: 163–294.

Geitler L. 1932: Cyanophyceae. Berlin: Koeltz Scientific Books.

Gugger M.. Lyra C., Suominen I., Tsitko I., Humbert J. F., Salkinoja-Salonen M. S., Sivonen K. 2002: Cellular fatty acids as chemotaxonomic markers of the genera Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Microcystis, Nostoc and Planktothrix (Cyanobacteria). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 52: 1007-1015.

Gupta V., Ratha S. K., Sood A., Chaudhary V., Prasanna R. 2013: New insights into the biodiversity and applications of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) – Prospects and challenges. Review article. Algal Research 2: 79-97.

Haselkorn R. 1978: Heterocysts. Annual Review of Plant Physiology 29: 319-344.

Hori K., Ishii S., Ikeda G., Okamoto J., Tanji Y., Weeraphasphong C., Unno H. 2002: Behavior of filamentous cyanobacterium Anabaena spp. in water column and its cellular characteristics. Biochemical Engineering Journal 10: 217–225.

Hindák F. 2000: Morphological variation of four planktic nostocalean cyanophytes – members of the genus Aphanizomenon or Anabaena? Hydrobiologia 438: 107-116.

Jäger K., Bartók T., Ördög V., Barnabás B. 2010: Improvement of maize (Zea mays L.) anther culture responses by algae-derived natural substances. South African Journal of Botany 76: 511-516.

John D. M., Whitton B.W., Brook A. J. 2002: The freshwater algae of the British Isles, Cambridge University Press. 702 pp.

Joosten A. M. T. 2006: Flora of the blue-green algae of the Netherlands. 1. The non-filamentous species of inland waters. KNNV Publishing, Utrecht, 240 pp.

Komárek J. 1996: Klíč k určování vodních květů sinic v České republice [A key for determination of water-bloom-forming cyanobacteria in the Czech Republic]. In: Maršálek B., Keršner V., Marvan P. (eds), Vodní květy sinic [Cyanobacterial water blooms], Nadatio flos-aquae, Brno, pp. 22-85 (in Czech).

Komárek J. 2006: Cyanobacterial taxonomy: current problems and prospects for the integration of traditional and molecular approaches. Algae 21(4): 349-375.

Komárek J. 2013: Süßwasserflora von Mitteleuropa, Bd. 19/3: Cyanoprokaryota 3. Teil / 3rd part: Heterocytous Genera. Springer Spektrum.

Komárek J., Anagnostidis K. 1986: Modern approach to the classification systém of cyanophytes. Teil 2. Chroococcales. Archiv für Hydrobiologie / Algological Studies 43: 157–226.

Komárek J., Anagnostidis K. 1989: Modern approach to the classification system of Cyanophytes, 4 - Nostocales. Archiv für Hydrobiologie Suppl. 82: 247-345.

Komárek J., Anagnostidis K. 2005: Süsswasserflora von Mitteleuropa. Cyanoprokaryota: 2. Teil/2nd Part: Oscillatoriales. München: Elsevier Spektrum Akademischer Verlag. 19, 759 pp.

Komárek J., Kováčik Ľ. 1989: Trichome structure of four Aphanizomenon taxa (Cyanophyceae) from Czechoslovakia, with notes on the taxonomy and delimitation of the genus. Plant Systematics and Evolution 164: 47-64.

Komárek J., Mares J. 2011: An update to modern taxonomy (2011) of freshwater planktic heterocytous cyanobacteria. Hydrobiologia (2012) 698: 327–351.

Komárek J., Kastovsky J., Mares J., Johansen J. R. 2014: Taxonomic classification of cyanoprokaryotes (cyanobacterial genera) 2014, using a polyphasic approach. Preslia 86: 295–335.

Korelusová J.  2008: Phylogeny of heterocytous Cyanobacteria (Nostocales and Stigonematales). University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. 33 pp.

Larsson J., Nylander J. A., Bergman B. 2011: Genome fluctuations in cyanobacteria reflect evolutionary, developmental and adaptive traits. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 187.

Lauterborn R. 1915: Die sapropelische Lebewelt. Ein Beitrag zur Biologie des Faulschlammes natürlicher Gewässer. Verhandlungen des Naturhistorisch-Medizinischen Vereins zu Heidelberg ser. 2 13: 395-481, pl. III.

Li R., Watanabe M. M. 2001: Fatty acid profiles and their chemotaxonomy in planktonic species of Anabaena (Cyanobacteria) with straight trichomes. Phytochemistry 57: 727-731.

Metting F. B. 1994: Algae and cyanobacteria. In: Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2. Microbiological and Biochemical Properties. SSSA, pp. 427-458.

Molnár Z.. Ördög V. 1996: Cytokinin-like activity of eight Anabaena strains estimated by bioassays. Acta Agronomica Óváriensis 37: 137-142.

Oren A. 2011: Cyanobacterial systematics and nomenclature as featured in the International Bulletin of Bacteriological Nomenclature and Taxonomy / International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology / International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 61(1): 10-15.

Ördög V. 1993: Busaetetési kísérletek alga-és cyanobaktérium-tenyészetekkel. XVII. Halászati Tudományos Tanácskozás HAKI, Szarvas, pp 1-8.

Ördög V., Molnár Z., Pulz O. 1995: Microalgal plant growth regulators (PGRs) for agricultural purposes. Conference on Plant in Vitro Culture in Memory of the 50th Anniversary of Gottlieb Haberlandts Death, September 1-3, 1995. Mosonmagyaróvár, pp 1-6.

Ördög V., Pulz O. 1995: Potential use of microalgae in the crop production. 2nd European Workshop Biotechnology of Microalgae, September 11-12, Bergholz-Rehbrücke, pp. 123-126.

Ördög V., Stirk W., Lenobel A., Bancírová R. M., Strnad M., Staden J. van, Szigeti J., Németh L. 2004: Screening microalgae for some potentially useful agricultural and pharmaceutical secondary metabolites. Journal of Applied Phycology 16(4): 309-314.

Palinska K. A., Thomasius C. F., Marquardt J., Golubic S. 2006: Phylogenetic evaluation of cyanobacteria preserved as historic herbarium exsiccata. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 56: 2253-2263.

Peterson P. (ed.) 2001: Biological soil crusts: ecology and management. Technical Reference 1730-2111.

Prasanna R., Jaiswal P., Singh Y.V., Singh P.K. 2008: Influence of biofertilizers and organic amendments on nitrogenase activity and phototrophic biomass of soil under wheat. Acta Agronomica Hungarica 56: 149–159.

Prasanna R., Nayak S. 2007: Influence of diverse rice soil ecologies on cyanobacterial diversity and abundance. Wetlands Ecology and Management 15: 127–134.

Prasanna R., Chaudhary V., Gupta V., Babu S., Kumar A., Singh R., Shivay Y. S., Nain L. 2013: Cyanobacteria mediated plant growth promotion and bioprotection against Fusarium wilt in tomato. European Journal of Plant Pathology 136: 337-353.

Rai L. C., Mallick N. 1992: Removal and assessment of toxicity of Cu and Fe to Anabaena doliolum and Chlorella vulgaris using free and immobilized cells. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 8: 110–114.

Rajaniemi P., Hrouzek P., Kaštovská K., Willame R., Rantala A., Hoffmann L., Komárek J., Sivonen K. 2005a: Phylogenetic and morphological evaluation of the genera Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Trichormus and Nostoc (Nostocales, Cyanobacteria). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 55: 11-26.

Rajaniemi P., Komárek J., Willame R., Hrouzek P., Kaštovská K., Hoffmann L., Sivonen K. 2005b: Taxonomic consequences from the combined molecular and phenotype evaluation of selected Anabaena and Aphanizomenon strains. Algological Studies 117: 371-391.

Rippka R., DeReuelles J., Waterbury J. B., Herdman M., Stanier R. 1979: Generic assignments, strain histories and properties of pure cultures of cyanobacteria. Microbiology 111: 1–61.

Rippka R., Castenholz R. W., Herdman M. 2001: Subsection IV (formerly Nostocales Castenholz 1989b sensu Rippka, Deruelles, Herdman and Stanier 1979). In: Staley J. T. Bryant M. P., Pfennig N., Holt J. G. (eds), Bergey's manual of systematic bacteriology. Williams & Wilkins Co., Baltimore, Md. pp. 562-566.

Roeselers G., Norris T.B., Castenholz R.W., Rysqaard S., Glud R.N., Kuhl M., Muyzer G. 2007: Diversity of phototrophic bacteria in microbial mats from Arctic hot springs (Greenland). Environmental Microbiology 9: 26–38.

Singh P., Singh S. S., Elster J., Mishra A. K. 2013: Molecular phylogeny, population genetics and evolution of heterocystous cyanobacteria using nif H gene sequences. Protoplasma 250: 751–764.

Spiller H., Gunasekaran M. 1991: Simultaneous oxygen production and nitrogenase activity of an ammonia-excreting mutant of the cyanobacterium Anabaena variabilis in a co-culture with wheat. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 35: 798-804.

Starmach K. 1966: Cyanophyta-Sinice. Glaucophyta-Glaukofity. In: Starmach K. (ed.), Flora slodkowodna Polski. Tom 2., Warszawa: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. pp. 807.

Stulp B. K. 1982: Morphological variability of Anabaena strains (Cyanophyceae) under different culture conditions. Archiv für Hydrobiologie Suppl. 63: 165-176.

Szigeti J., Ördög V., Földes T., Pulz O. 1996: Microbial growth stimulation and inhibition caused by cyanobacteria. Conference on Progress in Plant Sciences from Plant Breeding to Growth Regulation, June 17-19, 1996. Mosonmagyaróvár, pp. 149-154.

Turner S. 1997: Molecular systematics of oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria. Plant Systematics and Evolution Suppl. 11: 13–52.

Wacklin P., Hoffmann L., Komárek J. 2009: Nomenclatural validation of the genetically revised cyanobacterial genus Dolichospermum (Ralfs ex Bornet et Flahault) comb. nova. Fottea 9(1): 59–64.

Werner V. R., Haywood D. R., Marli F. F., Célia L. S. A., Hoff C., De Souza Santos K. R., Neuhaus E. B., Molica R. J. R., Honda R. Y., Echenique R. E. 2012: Morphological and molecular studies of Sphaerospermopsis torques-reginae (Cyanobacteria, Nostocales) from South American water blooms. Phycologia 51(2): 228–238.

Wettstein R. 1924: Handbuch der systematischen Botanik.1st ed. Franz Deuticke, Leipzig. 1071 pp.

Willame R., Boutte C., Grubisic S., Wilmotte A., Komárek J., Hoffmann L. 2006: Morphological and molecular characterization of planktonic cyanobacteria from Belgium and Luxembourg. Journal of Phycology 42: 1312-1332.

Zapomělová E. 2008: Anabaena, phenotypic and genotypic diversity of planktonic strains in fishponds and reservoirs of the czech republic. Ph.D. dissertation. University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Science. České Budějovice. 13 pp.

Zapomělová E., Řeháková-Kaštovská K., Jezberova J., Komárková J. 2010: Polyphasic characterization of eight planktonic Anabaena strains (Cyanobacteria) with reference to the variability of 61 Anabaena populations observed in the field. Hydrobiologia 639(1): 99-113.

Zapomělová E., Hrouzek P., Rezanka T., Jezberová J., Reháková K., Hisem D., Komárková J. 2011: Polyphasic characterization of Dolichospermum spp. and Sphaerospermopsis spp. (Nostocales, Cyanobacteria): morphology, 16S rRNA gene sequences and fatty acid and secondary metabolite profiles. Journal of Phycology 47: 1152-1163.